In honor of Data Privacy Day – an international effort held annually on Jan. 28 to create awareness about the importance of respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust – the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) hosted a daylong event streamed live from LinkedIn’s offices in San Francisco, CA, on Thursday, Jan. 25. The event showcased fast-paced, cutting-edge discussions and TED-style talks with leading experts focusing on what businesses and consumers must know about privacy.
The event had more than 150 in-person attendees, 4,849 views on YouTube and Facebook and 3,127 online viewers via Periscope; the day’s activities were made possible by Data Privacy Day’s partner and host, LinkedIn, and sponsors: Cisco and Intel (Leading Sponsors) of the 2018 privacy awareness campaign, AT&T Services Inc., ForgeRock and Mozilla (Contributing Sponsors) and CDK and Yubico (Supporting Sponsors).
After opening remarks from Russell Schrader, NCSA’s executive director, the event kicked off with a panel discussion – “Looking Into a Crystal Ball: What Your Data Says About You.” Kent Wada, chief privacy officer and director of policy and governance at the University of California, Los Angeles, discussed what might be known and assumed about you – including your preferences and socioeconomic status – based on your online behaviors with Karen McGee, privacy & security, legal at Intel Corporation and Marc M. Groman, principal at Groman Consulting and former senior advisor for privacy at the White House.
McGee highlighted a few privacy tips for consumers:
- Avoid the temptation of taking social media quizzes
- Regularly remove unused mobile apps
- Consider using different email accounts and browsers for different purposes (e.g., shopping and work).
Groman emphasized that consumers should look at the privacy settings on their smartphones, consider what apps can access their contacts, photos and location data and regularly review and update these settings.
Michelle Dennedy, vice president and chief privacy officer at Cisco, gave a brief presentation on five things anyone can do to manage their privacy and protect their personal information. Her tips were to:
- Consider data you must provide to use a product or service before deciding to use it
- Manage the data your device uses by regularly checking and managing your privacy settings,
- Be skeptical of online surveys and clickbait
- Investigate “free” offers and what information is required in order to redeem them
- Think when downloading “free” stuff
In the next segment – “What You Should Know About the Internet of Me and Your Privacy” – Michael Corn, chief information security officer at the University of California San Diego, moderated a discussion on how our connected devices like wearables, appliances and personal assistants are fueled by information about us. Masha Sedova, co-founder of Elevate Security; Larry Magid, Ed.D., CEO and co-founder of ConnectSafely.org and on-air technology analyst for CBS News; and Margaret Taylor, director of global public affairs at AT&T Services, Inc., addressed how everyone is impacted by the growing Internet of Me and what we can do about it.
Taylor suggested att.com/cyberaware as a resource for fraud prevention and online privacy, and Sedova recommended regularly reviewing the privacy settings and permissions in your social media profiles and deleting permissions that you have granted in the past but no longer need. Magid emphasized that following basic security hygiene (setting strong passwords, using strong authentication, avoiding oversharing online, etc.) can go a long way toward protecting your personal information. Groman encouraged businesses to be honest, transparent and thoughtful about how they collect and use consumer information and urged consumers to be thoughtful about how they decide what they share online and with whom. Corn recommended educating friends and loved ones about how their online actions might be impacting their security and privacy.
Following the panel discussion, Groman gave a TED-style talk on location tracking and what it says about who you are, the choices you do and don’t have to manage your privacy and the best practices companies should follow when it comes to their collection, storage and use of this sensitive information. He encouraged consumers to take the time to understand their privacy settings and the permissions given to devices, apps and other technology services. Groman also emphasized companies’ responsibility to use best practices when it comes to location tracking and be open and honest with consumers about their data practices.
In the next segment – “Staying Competitive – Why Privacy Is Good for Your Business” – Schrader, Dennedy and Raina discussed how enabling trust with consumers is key to growing and maintaining a successful company, regardless of size. The speakers emphasized the importance of respecting privacy and safeguarding data to successfully foster customer trust and the value consumers place on their personal information; they also shared fundamental data practices that can help companies stay competitive.
In her presentation – “The Problem With Your Online Privacy” – Denelle Dixon, chief legal and business officer at Mozilla Corporation, discussed the ways in which small bits of data about us can be used to follow a “trail” to a full digital dossier. Dixon shared a story about hiring an investigator to find out as much information about her as possible when only given her full name, and the search revealed a wealth of sensitive data like financial, family, health and location details. She offered the following tips:
- Avoid “engaging with the trolls” online
- Demand privacy controls from the companies with which you do business
- “Vote with your feet,” or stop using products with bad security and privacy practices
- Check out Mozilla’s 8-Day Data Detox as a helpful resource
The last panel discussion highlighted the balancing act between privacy and innovation. The relationship between privacy, innovation and convenience is often viewed as a challenge, with some arguing that privacy can stifle innovation and others insisting that privacy is necessary for innovation. Dan Stein, branch chief for cybersecurity education and awareness in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, moderated the discussion between Elena V. Elkina, Women in Security and Privacy (WISP) co-founder and vice chair and partner at Aleada Consulting; Alison Shaffer, director of Intel’s global privacy team; and Eve Maler, vice president of innovation and emerging technology at ForgeRock. Shaffer encouraged online shoppers to read company privacy policies and data models to better understand how their data is collected, used and shared, and Elkina suggested that innovation can be used to further privacy (for example, using encryption and anonymization to protect consumers’ information).
Closing out the day’s discussions, Kristian Lum, Ph.D., lead statistician at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, shared a presentation on the blind spots of privacy – for example, when algorithms help automate reasoning but don’t take privacy or diverse perspectives into account – and what we should do about it. She emphasized that if the data used to “train” machine learning is biased, the machine learning will reproduce that same bias and that we should be aware of the consequences of reinforcing or amplifying these biases to use data and machine learning responsibly.
Thirteen media guests representing 11 news outlets attended the event either in person or online. Here is a preliminary sample of media coverage stemming from the event.
- CBS News Radio – Eye On Tech: Data Privacy Day Stresses Control Over Personal Information
- TheCUBE – Video Interviews From Data Privacy Day 2018
- The Mercury News – Cisco Survey: Privacy Concerns Delay Sales for Most Businesses
- National Law Review – Annual Data Privacy Day to Focus on Safeguarding Data
- SC Magazine – National Cyber Security Alliance Data Privacy Day
- Seeking Alpha Tech.pinions Podcast – Intel Earnings, Apple HomePod, National Cyber Security Alliance
- SiliconANGLE – As GDPR Looms, Companies Lose Time and Money Over Data Privacy Concerns
Missed the event? Check out the full video here.
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Thank you to all who helped to make this event possible and tuned in online! We look forward to growing awareness of the importance of privacy and protecting personal information this Data Privacy Day and year-round.